It’s Friday night, the end of a long and challenging week. I’m itchy to get out, have a few beers and listen to some live music. I hear that the “Great Scott Band” are playing in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia tonight and welcome the opportunity to check them out. Several friends (that are in bands of their own) have told me about them…they’re their favorite band to go see. That made me curious enough to get in touch with John Kehoe, the band’s drummer, whom I have seen before when he’s filled in for Chowder band. Now I can share my personal experience with you after seeing them. Fun! It’s really that simple. They set a mood before they even play a note…they’re there to have fun and demand you have fun too. They play a range of music that’s as vast as Noni’s (their lead singer and co-founder) vocals. They’re not concerned with perfection and dare to try something new, unapologetically, because….well….just because. They allow their fans to come up and join in on the fun, whether it’s singing a favorite song, playing guitar or tambourine. It’s a group effort. And on this particular night, they have a special guest joining them for the first set…Noni’s grandson who’s maybe 5 years old. He’s stands at his own mic with his Spider-Man guitar, singing along to “You Shook Me All Night Long” and loving the spotlight. There’s still a couple months of winter left where we’ll be cooped up…unless you decide to escape the cabin fever. Then, go check out Great Scott Band. But first, read what drummer, John Kehoe, had to say about the band:
When was Great Scott band formed and who are the members?
“The band grew out of a another band, “Emanon”, in 1997, formed by Steve Dreisbach and Noni Diaz. There have been various other members since, but the two of them are the core.
Current line-up: Noni Diaz – lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, flute.
Steve Dreisbach – Guitar, vocals
Crohan Delamar – Bass, vocals
John W. Kehoe (Johnny K) – drums, vocals
Where did the name of the band derive?
“The band was named after a guitar player and friend from an earlier version of the band, Scott Russel. While walking his girlfriend home one night, he was robbed and stabbed. He died on Dec. 28th, 1996. When the band re-formed, it was dedicated to, and named after, him.”
What style of music do you play and what is your favorite to play?
“We play classic rock, dance and party music, 90’s, 80’s and obscure hits from the 70’s. We love it all. Noni’s fantastic vocal abilities, and the fact that everyone in the band sings, give us a lot of range.”
What musicians/bands have influenced each of you the most?
“Our influences are almost too many too mention. We all have very wide ranges of taste in music. The music of the 70’s and 80’s is very close to our hearts.
I can only speak authoritatively to my own influences – the stuff I started learning to play along with. Queen, Journey, Billy Joel, ELO, Springsteen…and it didn’t hurt that I got to see Elvis when I was 11.”
Where does Great Scott play?
“Wherever they’ll have us (laughs). Currently, we have dates at Celtic Cross, Bailey’s, Hurricane Jack’s, Curran’s Bensalem, Nick’s Roast beef (every first Friday), Reale’s (Every last Friday of the month), The Bridesburg Pub, McStew’s, The Eddington House…and more to come.”
Do you have a good relationship with other local philly bands?
“Yes, we are very close, and love to support all of the great bands in the area. We share a special bond with bands like “Stems & Seeds”, “Steamboat Annie”, “Chowder”, and, not surprisingly, “Spare Parts”, “Waterfall”, and “WIRED!” All GREAT bands!”
Do you find it to be a competitive environment?
“Absolutely, the competitive thing is always there. But we don’t put other bands down to make ourselves look better. Bands that do that actually make themselves look worse. We believe that a rising tide raises all ships. It’s much better to work together as much as possible.”
Do you have any original music?
“We have all played in original bands and have our own songs. Sadly, there is not much room for it in the cover scene.”
8. If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be?
“Good question! I have personally played Sturgis…we have all played “Big Gigs”. But, the most satisfying nights are those spent playing in a room full of friendly faces and people they’ve brought to see us.
But international travel wouldn’t suck.”
How would you sum up The Great Scott Band ‘experience’?
“Our approach to a night of music is just that – it’s music. It should lift people. It’s not about how great we are, so to speak. It’s about being that one thing that makes people smile on a Friday or Saturday after a rough week. It’s about breaking down the barrier between crowd and stage. There is a special bond among men who play music together, and trust each other enough to say – “Go, buddy…I’m right behind you”.
Not sure what other job provides that.”
Check out and “like” Great Scott on Facebook to watch some videos and keep track of where they’ll be playing next (of course they’ll be in future event calendars):
**photos courtesy of Great Scotts Facebook page